It Came From Japan

To the Editor: I found ‘Overtime’ (Issue 144) to be a very interesting read because I am a passionate gamer and have the physical ability of a drunken turtle. I’m in High School, you see, and in the teen world my particular character traits are not exactly ‘appreciated’ by the popular community. Add that to the fact that I’m a thirteen year old who uses inverted commas and words like ‘character traits’ and you have a basic translation of ‘hopeless nerd.’ Considering that most of my peers have barely any brain function, I am quite proud of my hopeless nerd status.

The idea of any connection between sport-lovers and game-lovers is quite amazing to me. Every self respecting child plays video games, of course, but the real difference between a nerd and a non-nerd is whether or not they play games excessively. To own a PS3 is ‘cool,’ but to use it all the time is ‘nerdy.’ That being said, every child plays sport, but the real difference between a nerd and a non-nerd in this situation is whether or not they enjoy it. I only involve myself in sporting activities when I am forced to.

It is as Bryan Brown said: ‘When we’re young, we tend to gravitate toward people with similar interests.’ The reason sportsmen and gamers are so far apart is because neither group possesses the skills necessary to understand the other. The sportsman just needs a wide open space to move around in for amusement, while the gamer needs either a computer or some form of console. The sportsman can’t understand why gamers find simple motor skills so difficult, and the gamer can’t understand why kicking a ball around is in any way amusing. The sportsman can’t understand why the gamer is afraid of getting hurt in sport, and the gamer can’t understand why the sportsman can be so reckless.

The irony of it all is that both groups share a love of the same thing: games. Sportsmen like exercise games and gamers like video games. This is why exercise video games sell so quickly: both groups play them. Even I played Wii Sports, though my fitness age was registered as 67 while my father was said to be two decades younger than me!

I think that sportsmen and gamers are meant to be separate. It’s like gender; a man and a woman are very similar but there are many key differences between them, and both claim not to understand the other.

– Matthew

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In response to “Master Chief in Sneakers” from The Escapist Forum: “Life is crap” and “reality is broken” (from the ever awesome Jane McGonigal) are powerful and provocative statements, but I won’t disagree. We integrate games into our lives for recreation because we enjoy them, and if the flow we experience can be carried over to interfaces, metaphors, or systems that help us meet our life goals, so much the better. People pay good money for pretty rotten diet and exercise software/machines/crap with unengaging interfaces that end up gathering dust. There’s a better way, and Russ Pitts is living it.

– Professor Ardwulf

The statements made by Russ Pitts and Jane McGonigal, that reality is in need of enhancement or correction, is well-founded. I could not agree more. However, I disagree with the proposed means by which this is to be achieved. You are the lead designer on the game Your Life. Now take some responsibility. Our competitive natures and our reliance/addiction on electronics and entertainment are two of the real problems that need correcting.

Why do we let complete strangers define our goals and achievements? Are you not more knowledgeable of your life and what is good for you? Define your own life, goals, achievements, rewards and create your own games. I often listen to music while jogging, just to drown out the outside world. I use electronics and entertainment, but I do not let them use me. The moment I let consumerism dictate my life, is the moment I cease to be an individual human and become a cog in a machine.

– Finnish(ed)


In response to “Bridges to the Middle” from The Escapist Forum: I can relate to this. I’ve been a dedicated player of softball, basketball, hockey, tennis, rowing, rugby, touch rugby and more besides – and I was always on the bottom rung, the guy who (if only metaphorically) got the Sportsmanship Award, or the Coach’s Award. I’d join a team, play and train diligently every week, watch everyone else gradually improve until I couldn’t justify being so much worse than them any more, and then quit. It’s heartbreaking. I’ve spent more time on park benches than most homeless people.

In the past two years I’ve let sports slip away from me, because it’s just too frustrating to do something over and over again without making any headway. And I hate it, and I can see a long list of friends whom I’ve drifted away from just because I couldn’t keep letting them show me up on a football field every week without growing to resent them, but I don’t see any way around it.

The sad part is, while I’m forced to identify more as a geek than a jock, I actually tend to like sporty people better in many ways. Fate’s a bitch.

– Fraser.J.A

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